Missouri has paid a consulting firm more than $829,000 so far in federal funding for pandemic response coordination, despite Gov. Mike Parson saying a foundation was paying the tab. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports payroll records show the McChrystal Group has received the federal CARES Act funding from the state, instead of Parson saying earlier that the Missouri Foundation for Health would cover up to $600,000 in costs for the firm’s work.

State Sen. Lauren Arthur D-Kansas City (image courtesy of Arthur for Missouri)

During Senate floor debate Wednesday, Sen. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City, tells Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Affton, that she has a problem with the price tag and the contract bypassing the normal bidding process.

“Why are we spending a million dollars on this for one – the governor to ignore that kind of plan and for two – while we’re cutting things like school funding, when people don’t have enough PPE, when we don’t have enough testing available,” says Arthur. “I think it’s probably a better use of the state’s money – of taxpayer dollars, of Missourians’ money – to go towards tests so we know whether or not people are contagious, as opposed to spending money on quote structure and management to allow decision makers to determine policies.”

Missouri has spent over $1.5 billion of the more than $2 billion it has received as part of federal COVID-19 funding. Most of the money has gone to Missouri counties to help local governments fight the virus. The state has spent its portion on things like personal protective equipment, putting up emergency workers in a hotel, and a temporary hospital site.

Parson spokeswoman Kelli Jones says under the contract, the firm will be eligible to continue being paid nearly $250,000 a month for its work. She says the McChrystal Group has been a tremendously helpful resource in pulling teams together within state government to drive quick and effective COVID-19 action.

The Virginia-based consulting company was founded by retired four-star Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

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